Most teams punish football players by not letting them play football. In Cleveland, playing football apparently is punishment enough.
Browns coach Hue Jackson explained to reporters on Sunday that rookie receiver Antonio Callaway played most of the preseason opener as discipline for his recent citation for marijuana possession.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said regarding whether the extensive playing time was discipline related. “That was the plan. It was. I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could. I did not want him to come out. . . . That was part of the consequence of what he has been through, and he knows it. That is what it was. Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play. Make him play as long as he could. There were a couple of times he kept waving to come out, and we said, ‘No, stay in.’”
Jackson said he liked the fact that Callaway fought through his punishment.
“I did,” Jackson said. “He worked through it. There were times he had his hands — I am sure you saw it — he had his hands on his head like this, and he was ready to go to the sideline. We said, ‘[No], you are back in there.’ He fought through it, came out the other side of it and made some plays. That was good.”
It’s strange, to say the least, that a coach who summarily shut down the idea of not giving players days off in order to keep them healthy would subject a key rookie to injury by keeping him in a preseason game when he’s trying to tap out. They got lucky that Callaway emerged from the experience healthy.